Like most of the folks I know, I have a game system or two (or in my case 4 or 5 depending on the year), and I do enjoy playing games online with my friends. So, to that end, I have created accounts on all of the major networks over the years. I have played many a game and have spent many an hour online with friends in all the various worlds the fine folks in the gaming industry have created. Most recently, I have watched closely as it came clear just how big an event the PSN outage was.
I’m partially talking about how the time that the servers have been down has effected the players adversely from a gaming standpoint and partially how it has left all of us fearful of the security of our information, possibly even for the money in our accounts. Sony has lost a good amount of trust from me, and I am sure many others due to the whole thing.
The first point is annoying at most. I had rolled along in Portal 2′s single player game hoping to finish and jump into some co-op with a friend. Now, I’ve been finished for a few days now and can’t play co-op until they bring it up online. Now I don’t play shooters often so someone like multiplayer CoD players are much worse off than us older, slower guys, but it still is a bit irksome.
With regard to the potential hack of the system, I was lucky in some ways. I have never associated a credit card with my PSN account, so I don’t have to worry too much about that, but I know many people who have. They put their trust in one of the world’s largest home entertainment companies to be able to keep their network secure. To me, a company as large as Sony wouldn’t have left holes as open as this and the thousands of the rest of us staring at a headache of potential credit fraud and identity theft.
From my understanding, based on a post over on Reddit, there is educated speculation that Sony’s war with the hackers and modders led to these folks to find a way to get back online and play with their modified systems. During this effort they likely found a way into the Dev side of the network which led to a massive amount of pirating of PSN content. This is all speculative based on a number of facts, but sounds fairly plausible.
Now, I understand why Sony’s PR folks would avoid laying it all out like this but it doesn’t change that, according to their official word published yesterday (April 27th) the compromise of the PSN happened between April 17th and 19th. Ten or so days after is when we find out the extent of the issue? I know that there would have been some investigation time, but keeping people in the dark is not a way to renew the faith in the security.
In my morning ritual today, I came up with a new password setup and started the long and arduous process of changing all the accounts out there as well as adding Fraud alerts to my credit reports (having been a victim of ID theft in the past). While stopping off at Penny Arcade I noticed that Jerry (Tycho) had much the same idea and took a suggestion of his and added the 2-step security that Google now offers to give myself a bit more peace of mind. It is very similar to Blizzard’s Authenticator setup for World of Warcraft.
I caution anyone who reads this and has an account on the PSN to do the same as me. Change those passwords, update information, add extra security and sign up for the fraud alerts at your favorite Credit reporting agency (they will forward the request on to the other agencies). You don’t want to have to go through the hassle of cleaning up your credit and/or identity later on down the road.
I look forward to seeing Sony redeem themselves in some way, but know that in the mean time we will see all manner of repercussions from this event and how Sony handled it.